NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION
With a broad statutory mandate to investigate "any matter concerning the public peace, public safety and public justice," the State Commission of Investigation undertakes investigations of corruption, fraud, organized crime, racketeering, money laundering, the conduct of public officers, public employees, officers and employees of public corporations and authorities, and mismanagement in New York State and local government.
Additionally, the Commission is charged with conducting investigations into organized crime and labor racketeering and their relation to the enforcement of State law. The Commission's purely investigative character enables it to address problems and suggest legislative and administrative remedies beyond the jurisdiction of other agencies. When evidence of criminal behavior is developed during an investigation, it is referred to an appropriate prosecutor. Of equal importance is the Commission's role as a "sunshine agency." In an effort to focus public attention on particular problems of local or statewide importance, the Commission has the authority to conduct public hearings and issue public reports.
As a result, throughout its existence, the Commission's recommendations have often been the catalyst for the passage of new laws and changes to existing laws. In investigations of a more local character, the Commission's findings may be reported directly to complainants, subjects of investigations, and authorities with the power to remove or sanction the officials involved.
While recognizing the importance of vigorous and unbiased investigation, the Commission is also mindful of its special responsibilities Commission is vigilant to ensure that until an investigation is presented in a public forum, its work remains confidential. Members of the press are routinely advised that it is Commission policy to neither confirm nor deny that a matter is under investigation.
While it is not always possible to dissuade witnesses and attorneys who appear before the Commission from making statements while a matter is under investigation, the Commission vigilantly safeguards the confidentiality of its investigative work. The Commission's statewide investigative powers extend to more than 80 State agencies, divisions, boards and authorities as well as over 1,600 political subdivisions of the State -- including the State's 62 counties and more than 500 villages, 900 towns and 60 cities.
Its broad investigative jurisdiction also includes thousands of school, water and sewer districts throughout the State. In most circumstances, outside of the local district attorney, the Commission is the only independent investigative body in the State with the power to review and investigate allegations of fraud, waste, corruption and malfeasance. Unlike a local prosecutor's office, the Commission, through its "sunshine" role, has the authority to address these types of allegations outside the traditional criminal justice forum and highlight these governmental problems for the Governor, the legislature and the public.
The Commission is unique in that it is the only State agency with both investigative and "sunshine" mandates. In addition to major investigations which result in public reports, the Commission, each year, conducts numerous investigations and preliminary inquiries. While some investigations result in public hearings or public reports, many cases conclude with a referral to local, state or federal authorities for criminal prosecution, or disciplinary or other administrative action. The Commission has continued to forge stronger and more cooperative relationships with federal law enforcement agencies, including United States Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Customs Service and the Secret Service.
The complaints received annually by the Commission, whether from private individuals, government agencies or public officials, often allege violations of law, administrative abuse, official misconduct or conflicts of interest. Some complaints simply involve requests for assistance with personal problems. The Commission notifies each complainant regarding the action taken by the Commission concerning that individual's complaint. The Commissioners believe it is critical for citizens to know that there is a State government agency which will fully and impartially consider their concerns.
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10038
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